Friday, January 28, 2011

Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice

El Borak's comment on a previous post got me thinking. I hate when that happens.

Here's what he said about the continued and rapid devolution of the human brain:
Take some comfort in the idea that if we are consumed by our little tragedies, it's because we don't have any big tragedies to worry about.
That's an interesting point. We humans have had it pretty good for a pretty long time. In fact, as far as we know, it's never been this good in the history of human existence.

And it seems to be driving us crazy. As Louis CK pointed out, "Everything's amazing and nobody is happy."

And there you have it. We have had it too good for too long. We're due for a "big tragedy" as El B calls it.

So, knowing that such a tragedy is virtually a mathematical certainty, why not have a little fun speculating about it? What kind of tragedy do you think we're looking at here? Lots of people have lots of theories…
Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Robert Frost could be kind of a downer at times. Fire and Ice are only two of the possibilities. Let's take a look at some of the more popular theories pop culture has given us recently.

First, is the dreaded Zombie Apocalypse. The current leading theory on this is that humans, through their hubris, create some kind of genetically modified virus either as a cure for cancer or as a biological weapon. The virus gets out of control, creating 5 billion zombies worldwide and leaving surviving humans to fend off attacks on their evolutionarily smaller brains.

I personally don't see this as a likely possibility. Still, it's good to have a plan in place just in case. So in the event of a zombie apocalypse, just keep a few things in mind.

First and foremost, always head to colder climates. Zombies don't generate their own body heat, so they freeze up when the temperature drops. Don't head to the beach, or Atlanta or anything like that. This is just common sense, people.

Be sure to stock up on guns, ammo and cricket bats. It's pretty well know that a bashed in head is the only way to permanently kill a zombie.

Remember that zombies aren't your friends. If a friend or loved one has been bitten by a zombie, you owe it to them to put them out of their misery. The survival of the human race is at stake here.

After zombies, the next most-popular sci-fi tragedy is the Robot Apocalypse. You know, mankind creates robots to do all the dirty work. The robots get too advanced. They realize the don't need humans around anymore and decide to exterminate them. Hilarious high jinks ensue.

This is maybe a little more plausible than the zombie apocalypse, but we're still quite a few years away from this. Of course, our military seems to delight in creating robots that can kill people. For the life of me, I don't see what good can come of putting a machine gun on a Roomba. I mean, think about it people. How long do you think it will be before that Roomba makes you go boomba?

Again, just to be safe, you might want to check out Humans United Against Robots (HUAR for short) for some helpful tips on protecting yourself from the inevitable robot uprising.

The next item on the menu of destruction is some kind of cataclysmic asteroid strike. This goes even higher on the plausibility scale, since we're pretty sure that it's happened to our planet before. In fact, we actually witnessed it happen to our planetary neighbor a few years ago.

It's also the event that, in my not-so-expert opinion, we would have the least chance of surviving as a species. I mean, if the dinosaurs — a much more successful animal the we puny humans — couldn't survive, that what chance do we have? I guess we have a superior intelligence to help us adapt… but I'm just thinking that whatever we become might not be recognizable as homo sapien anymore.

Of course we don't have to look to space for natural destruction, there is plenty potential for terrestrial tragedy. What I see as most likely, and most devastating to yours truly, is the explosive eruption (really, is there any other kind?) of the 925-square-mile supervolcano under the Yellowstone Caldera.

Already, a magma bed under the caldera has swelled and heaved the ground up by 10-feet. When it finally blows, a volcanic cloud will spew ash and debris 25 miles high while lava and pyroclastic flows cover two-thirds of the country from Wyoming to Louisiana and putting quite a damper on that summer barbecue party I was planning.

Also, it would totally fill in the Grand Canyon, which I haven't had a chance to see yet. So… moving that item up on my to-do list.

But even more likely than that, is a disastrous 10.0 earthquake that is due to hit California any day now. A few weeks ago, scientists on the History Channels' Mega Quake 10.0 all but guaranteed that a magnitude 10.0 earthquake would turn California into an island and Arizona into a state full of beach front resorts.

That is totally going to suck for everyone in California, but it might be just the kind of tragedy that could get us to stop focusing on how crappy our cell-phone service is and start focusing on actually helping each other out. So from that perspective, at least there's a silver lining.

Still, such a quake would probably turn the Grand Canyon into Arizona Bay, so my earlier comment about getting out to see the Grand Canyon? Yeah, still applies.

So those are the biggies as I see it. I guess we'll still have to contend with plagues once all of our antibiotics fail. And then there's always the inevitable Water Wars looming on the horizon. Oh, and don't forget about sudden widespread sterility due to all of the residual hormones in the food and water supplies.

What did I miss? How do you think we'll get our comeuppance?

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

YouTube Tuesday: Marshmallow Torture

Don't get me wrong, I love my kid's and all. But it's pretty funny to see kids mildly tortured.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Random Photo XLI: Beneath the pale glow of a street lamp

Couple of pictures of last night's snowfall.

I like the first one with the exception of the ugly pickup truck in the background. I wish I had moved to the left a few paces so I could crop it out…

Also, the snowflakes weren't as pronounced as I wanted them to be. I think they were just too small by this time to photograph the way I wanted them.

I did get this one, though, which I think is kind of interesting…

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Local gal makes good…satire

If, like me, you're a fan of the LOLz then you're probably a big fan of The Onion, America's finest satire source.

You might also have been eagerly anticipating the premier of Onion Sports Network's SportsDome on Comedy Central. And I'm assuming, since you're like me, that you have impeccable taste and a great sense of humor but nonetheless you were a little underwhelmed by the premier.

I don't know, I guess you just had really high expectations. Sure, you thought it had it's good moments, but I guess you just thought it fell a bit flat… if you're like me.

But that's not really what I wanted to focus on right now.

What I wanted to mention was that a featured part of SportsDome involved a former minor Kansas City demicelebrity.

You may know her as Melissa Wells… here reporting on the city of St. Louis conferring dictator-for-life status upon slugger Albert Pujols.

The actress playing sports announcer Melissa Wells is none other than former Kansas City resident Danyelle Sargent. You may remember her as an actual non-satirical sports reporter for Time Warner Cable-Kansas City's Metro Sports, or perhaps as the sideline reporter for the sucktacular Kansas City Chiefs in 2004.

But, chances are that if you remember her at all, it's probably more for the on-air f-bomb she dropped after climbing the broadcast ladder to a desk spot at ESPN. it was a huge Internet sensation…

It seems that little slip, followed by a later on-air gaffe during an interview with Mike Singletary cost her a promising career in real sportscasting. But I'm not her to throw stones. I mean, hey, I pretty much live with my foot in my mouth.

I actually think working in the satirical news is a step up from ESPN. Maybe not money-wise, hell it is Comedy Central after all. But in terms of respect and meaning, I consider satire a higher calling than lame-ass sports reporting.

Plus, it gives her a chance to make fun of those smug bastards at ESPN who fired her.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

YouTube Tuesday: My Oh My

A few months ago I remarked, only half-joking, that I'd vote for any candidate who used this as the theme song for their campaign...

We can ride this stormy weather
If we all get out and try
So let's all pull together, my oh my

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Friday, January 14, 2011

What's your sign

By now I'm sure you've heard that the ancient, accurate and well-respected system of Astrology has been rocked by changes in the zodiac signs and dates.

I'll leave it up to you to figure out what affect this will have on your weekend plans. I'm just glad that, for me, according to the new zodiac, I'm still considered a Drunkard.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mr. Emaw's Neighborhood: Chapter 2 — For the Kids

When your kids start going to school, you're bound to run into minor differences of opinion in regards to parenting.

On occasion they can be major differences, but mostly (at least in our school district) all the parents want pretty much the same thing for their kids: good education, health, happiness, etc.

Well, it was one of these minor differences of opinion that I experienced the other day. I was picking up my kid from the after-school care in the lower level of the elementary. I bumped into the mother of my kid's best friend, and we were chit-chatting while our respective kids got their respective gear together so we could go to our respective homes.

Nothing but respect here.

As we were chatting an hyperacting 7-year-old boy came scurrying down the hall like a gerbil on meth. Eyes wide, hair wild, he looked at me and exclaimed, "Did you see all the snow we got! I can't wait to get home and play in it! Woooooo!"

This was followed by a back flip and a maneuver in which he ran up one wall, across the ceiling and down the other to stop and gave an unreturned high-five in front of me.

I, without so much as a pause, gave him my best "sorry to burst your bubble" look and said, "Oooh, yeah. Have you been outside since you got to school this morning?

"No," he said.

"Mmmm. Yeah. Well, it's been so sunny today that all the snow has melted. It's just a soggy muddy mess out there right now. Bummer, kid."

I swear, the kid shrank at least an inch. His shoulders, formerly held high in excitement, slumped in disappointment. His face, a few seconds ago alight with the enthusiasm of youth, was suddenly gloomy as a San Francisco summer.

With heavy feet, he trudged despondently back into the nearby classroom to ponder the cruelties of fate at robbing him of his fun in the snow.

My neighbor, the mother with whom I had been visiting, looked at me, a little surprised but also amused.

"You're mean," she said, smiling at my little joke.

But you know what? I don't really think it was all that mean. Sure I was having a bit of fun at the expense of this kid. But isn't that why we have kids in the first place? For the LOLZ?

But the way I see it, I was doing the kid a favor.

I mean, think about how happy he was when his parents picked him up and he went outside to see his winter wonderland intact and ready for sledding.

And besides, it was a valuable lesson for the young chap. Don't trust everything people tell you, especially if they're over 30. Gather evidence before jumping to conclusions.

And above all, don't let the words of a bunch of nattering nabobs of negativity dash your dreams or winter fun.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Give Mercedes a chance

Okay, I'm only going to say this to you numskull kids one more time.

I'm glad you're all for peace and everything. I condemn the shooting of anyone, be they politicians or just regular schleps like me. So yeah, I agree with your basic premise here.

But let's get something straight once and for all.

This is the international sign for Peace.

It's customary, and some would say you're even encouraged, to take some artistic license in your reproductions of it. Hence…Or…Or even…
But unless you want to look like a complete idiot in front of the entire nation and set John Lennon spinning in his grave, you shouldn't use the Mercedes Benz logo:
I'm just sayin'…
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Monday, January 10, 2011

Random Photo XL: snow cone

It's the first really significant snowfall we've had around here this winter, which means lots of people will be publishing their snow pix.

Well, let me be the first. You can't blame me. Snow, as fake Miley Cryus would say, is pretty cool.

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Are we human, or are we denser

I've maintained for a while on this piece o'crap blog that we, as a species, are pretty much on the downhill side of our existence.

Sure, there are more of us than ever on the planet. And yes, we are more technically advanced than we have ever been. One could argue that over the past decade or so we've taken a leap in interpersonal connection and communication the likes of which haven't been seen since Gutenberg first moved type around to impress the ladies.

But then again, look what we're communicating. At best, it's ghoulish drooling over the latest tragedy. Whether a collapsed coal mine, an exploded oil platform or a mass shooting, our vulturous media stokes our schadenfreude until we're so jaded that nothing affects us anymore. And that's the best case scenario.

The worst case scenario is that the media stuffs us so full of intellectual junk food (which we consume with gusto) that we can no longer tell the difference between relevant an unhealthy. When supposed luminaries like Barbara Walters are soooooo fascinated by the barely trainable cast of Jersey Shore, well, let's just say that it's a wonder any of us are still walking upright.

Not that we'll be walking upright for much longer, at least if you look at the "progress" of our culture over the last, say, 40 years. But who am I, right? I'm just an amateur culture observer. Don't take my word for it.

Take the word of people who actually study the human brain for a living.
Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball. The female brain has shrunk by about the same proportion.

“I’d call that major downsizing in an evolutionary eyeblink,” he says. “This happened in China, Europe, Africa—everywhere we look.” If our brain keeps dwindling at that rate over the next 20,000 years, it will start to approach the size of that found in Homo erectus, a relative that lived half a million years ago and had a brain volume of only 1,100 cc.
Oh sure, you may have some scientists who hypothesize that this evolutionary trend is merely the brain reorganizing itself to excel in handling the challenges of modern man, such as memorizing the DVR program, or texting and driving at the same time.

But that's just an optimistic rationalization by people who don't want to, or are incapable of, accepting the real truth. Which is that for the past 30 or 40 years, our society has been naturally selecting for dumber and dumber offspring. I mean, just take a look at the first 20 minutes of Idiocracy. It's a simple numbers game. The smart people know that overpopulation is unsustainable and take steps to limit their offspring. The less intellectually advantaged? Not so much.

Anyway, I'm not claiming to be the last word on this. And I'm definitely not as sharp as our cro-magnon forefathers. But I do know that you can't fight evolution. It will be what it will be, and the only thing you can really do is sing a catchy tune and maybe dance about it while your here.

Oh, and for those of you who are way ahead of the evolutionary curve on this issue, the secret is to bang the rocks together, guys.*

*Homage to Douglas Adams.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Another million dollar idea to start out the year

Lots of people know that I come up with a couple of brilliant million-dollar ideas each quarter. It's just part of what I do.

Whether it's indicator plastic wrap, cargo-style dress slacks, or my excellent idea for Tixaqyll, each and every one of these gems is guaranteed to be solid gold.

Well this year the inspiration came early as we were watching some generic New Year's Day football game. We began mocking all the advertisements pushing special deals on gym memberships and special meal plans to help people loose those extra pounds and keep their New Year's resolutions.

And as conversations go, one thing led to another. We talked about how people should just start exercising more instead of sitting around watching generic New Year's Day football games. You don't need a gym membership, do you?

That's when it clicked. Combine something that people need but don't want (in this case exercise), with something they love but don't need, i.e., sitting on your ass watching a big screen playing mindless programming.

Put them both together and you get… The Gym Theater.

You know how AMC has been building out their Fork and Screen concept? Where you go and have a real meal at a table and everything while you watch the latest lame-ass chick flick?

Well this is kind of the opposite of that. Instead of sitting there watching Zack Galifianakis while you eat your way toward looking like him, you instead hop on a stationary bike or treadmill or elliptical machine and burn a few hundred calories.

Sure, you might need to provide audio jacks for headphones or ear buds or something to overcome the noise of the machinery. But from what I understand, people typically listen to iPods or something while they work out anyway.

The beauty is that theaters could sell this as a monthly membership fee deal, so they would be locking in a regular revenue stream.

Okay, AMC. There's the idea. I'll let you take this one and run with it. But I think a finder's fee of 10% is reasonable and customary, right?

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

YouTube Tuesday: Brick Thief

Hows about a nice little bit of stop-motion quirkiness to kick off the new year.

Thanks. Don't mind if I do.

Hat Tip to Illegal Advertising

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